I love to travel, and I hope that never changes. Coming to New Zealand has made me realize how much I love to travel for an extended period of time. Backpacking around is fun and all, and I love that too, but I loved meeting the people here, spending time with the Kiwi’s learning the Maori Culture, taking classes, going to food stores, and being fully immersed in a culture the way that you can never experience in only a few days or weeks at a time. I may not have a perfect Kiwi accent, but I have picked up quite a few mannerisms during my stay here.
1) Sweet As
This is the most famous Kiwi slang. It means ‘no worries’ and you use it a lot when people try and apologize for something small like bumping into you, or when someone thanks you for holding open a door.
2) no worries mate / she’ll be right
This is another way of saying ‘its alright’ or ‘don’t worry about it’. Clearly Kiwi’s are pretty laid back people and that is one thing I have definitely picked up, and want to bring back to the States with me.
3) Carpark and motor way
Its no longer a ‘parking lot’ or ‘highway’. But lets be real, these terms are way better, i mean its a PARK for CARS! what gets better than that.
Instead of saying “do you want to do this” or ‘are you up for doing that’ you ask is they are “keen to do something” (Example: ‘do you want to go for a drink?’ VS ‘you keen for a drink?’)
5) Cuz or Cuzzie
This word is short for ‘cousin’ and it basically means the same thing as ‘bro’.
so everyone knows that when you say ‘fish and chips’ the chips are french fries, and thats true in most scenarios for everything in New Zealand. But when you go to order JUST french fries, they are referred to as “fries”. They break their own rule.
7) yeah nah, bro
The single hardest Kiwi slang there is. It could mean ‘yes’, it could mean ‘no’, everything depends on their mannerisms when saying it!
tramping just mean hiking. you are going on a tramp, you have a tramp backpack, you love to go tramping, the university has a tramp club. 😉
Uni is just short for University. In New Zealand ‘college’ refers to your last year of high school, and ‘university’ is what Americans think of as ‘college’.
10) 21st Birthdays
So in the US someones 21st birthday is a HUGE ordeal, mostly because you get to start drinking. It usually entails a large party, a nice dinner, or some fun bar hopping with friends. In New Zealand this is also a HUGE tradition. your 21st birthday is the birthday that you have the biggest party and drink the most, which is weird to me because Kiwis can start drinking at age 18?!? In fact you can do almost everything by age 18; vote, rent a car, join the army, buy cigarettes. There isn’t any larger privilege that you get by turning 21!! Ive asked a lot of Kiwi’s why this is a tradition and all of them either don’t know or say they just want to be like Americans.
This is the be-all, end-all word. It also happens to be my favorite word. You use it for Hello, goodbye, to say thank you AND your welcome, to finish a letter or email, to propose a toast; I’m pretty sure I can have an entire conversation with someone and only say ‘cheers’ using different dialects and everyone near me would completely understand.
There is nothing like going to a new place that makes you appreciate home. I can’t wait to return back home to the US. I may replaced a few American Mannerism with Kiwi ones, but traveling around and spending time emerged in a new culture has truly helped me to love and appreciate everything I have back home. Thank you New Zealand for sharing your way of life with me, until we meet again.
**Pictures were taken from my last two tramps around Wellington.
**Photo credit to Kate on the Wind Turbine tramp, and to Aline at the botanic gardens tramp.